Sunday, February 7, 2016

More tree silhouettes in winter

Graceful silver birches Betula pendula

Sweet chestnut Castanea sativa

Hawthorn Crataegus monogyna. A tough, impenetrable tangle of branches, often with a twisted, fluted trunk when it is given time and space to grow into a tree.

Common lime Tilia europaea. Often has burrs at the roots with a mass of twigs, which have been trimmed in this specimen.

The mass of twigs growing from the burrs at the base of an untrimmed common lime

Beech Fagus sylvatica. Slender twigs with pointed buds.

Elder Sambucus nigra usually grows as a large hedgerow shrub that'sseverely cut back annually and only has a short life span but if it's left alone and given space it will grow into a small, densely-branched tree like this. Old elders have deeply fissured corky bark and twigs covered in yellow Xanthoria parietina lichen.

For more on winter tree silhouettes click here


  1. Thanks again Phil. Very useful, I will keep the links in a folder.

  2. It's interesting that the 'jizz' of a species is usually the preserve of birders and using it in botanical context is sometimes viewed with contempt. I'm quite relaxed when people say they know what a tree is because well, "it just is!". For me, I think, the jizz of a tree is often that distinctive shape, and it's great reading your posts that articulate the identification feature of that habit that many of us probably subconsciously observe but cannot express.

    I've always struggled with Silver and Downy birch, and the 'pendula' bit in Betula pendula has often been the clincher. If you ever travel from Brough to Kirkby Stephen there are a couple of really striking examples of B. pendula with wonderful drooping branches as you get to close to Kirkby Stephen.

    1. the 'jizz' of a species is a really interesting concept, isn't it? I suppose it's all about the search images that you carry around in your head, that help to identify species from just a brief glimpse but also alert you to anything that's not quite right or a little different - which often turns out to be something unusual and interesting.

      trees fascinate me because more than any other plants, probably because of their long life span which allows them ton acquire their individual characters as well as species characteristics. This is more evident when they're leafless in winter in winter than in summer when so much is hidden by foliage.

      I'll look out for those silver birches as we often head over in Kirkby Stephen direction to do the walk around the viaducts or to visit Smardale Gill NNR. All the best, Phil


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.